The Great Escape
Text: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Key Verse: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. - 1 Corinthians 10:13
I know that I said I wasn’t going to preach a series of sermons with movie titles and I’m not, ….after this one, but I got to thinking about it and some of these titles could work. How about a sermons on tithing called, “For a Few Dollars More?” What about a sermon on evangelism called “Jaws?” Or wait what about “Star Wars: The Fall of Lucifer from Heaven?” I think you folks lack imagination and anyone with those title might be lacking inspiration.
Joke: Every year, Stumpy and his wife Martha went to the State Fair. And every year, Stumpy would say, "Martha, I'd like to ride in that there airplane." And every year, Martha would reply, "I know, Stumpy, but that airplane ride costs ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars."
This one year Stumpy and Martha went to the fair and Stumpy said, "Martha, I'm 71 years old. If I don't ride that airplane this year I may never get another chance. "
Martha replied, "Stumpy, that there airplane ride costs ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars."
The pilot overheard them and said, "Folks, I'll make you a deal. I'll take you both up for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say one word, I won't charge you, but if you say one word it's ten dollars." Stumpy and Martha agreed, and up they went. The pilot performed all kinds of twists and turns, rolls and dives, but not a word is heard. He even does a nose dive, pulling up 15 feet above the ground, but still not a word. They land and the pilot turns to Stumpy, "Wow, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell out, but you didn't."
Stumpy replied, "Well, I was gonna say something when Martha fell out, ...but ten dollars is ten dollars!"
Now I think Stumpy was lacking something as far as being a
husband went and today I want to make sure that we aren’t lacking something as
Christians when it comes to dealing with temptation.
I. Introduction (1:1-9)
II. Divisions in the Church (1:10-4:21)
III. Moral Disorders in the Church (5:1-6:20)
IV. Discussion Concerning Marriage (7:1-40)
V. Discussion Concerning Food Offered to Idols (8:1-11:1)
A. Enquiry: May a Christian Eat Food Consecrated to a Pagan God? (8:1-13)
B. Example of Paul (9:1-27)
C. Exhortations (10:1-11:1)
VI. Discussion Concerning Public Worship (11:2-14:40)
VII. The Doctrine of the Resurrection (15:1-58)
VIII. Practical and Personal Matters (16:1-24)
Chapter 10 closes the section that began at chapter 8 about eating food offered to idols. It was probably one of the questions or concerns that the members at Corinth had and wrote Paul about. In chapter 8 he lays out the fact that idols are nothing but eating food offered to idols and offending your weak brother is a sin. This “weak brother” principle is discussed again in Romans as we know from our study of Romans 14. Now here in chapter 10 Paul is going to give a warning to those Christians who think they are so strong that the things of the world like pagan marketplaces and pagan places will not affect them.
1 ¶ Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Israel Blessed Yet Sinned
Vs. 1-5 Israel had great spiritual privileges yet they failed God and died in the wilderness. Five times he uses the word all to emphasize they blessing given to all of Israel
They Were under the cloud, Paul says, they had Supernatural Guidance
They Passed through the sea – They had Supernatural Deliverance
There were Baptized unto Moses in the cloud and sea –a Supernatural Identification
They did eat all the same spiritual food (manna) – Supernatural Food
They did drink the same spiritual drink (water from the rock) – Supernatural Sustenance
All these things show that the nation of Israel was God’s nation, they were God’s people. Blessed by Him and privileged to walk with Him.
Yet despite all this, God overthrew them (the word means he strew them like a farmer throws seed) in the wilderness. None of that generation passed into the Promised Land except Caleb and Joshua.
They went from all who had been blessed to only two that would enter the promised land. The people of God failed because they gave into temptation and sinned against God and those sins were worse than the sin of Egypt, or Philistia or Syria. They were God’s people, their privileges, blessings and relationship with God made their sin much worse. Our sins as Christians, with even greater privileges, blessings and a closer relationship with God through Jesus Christ are amplified even louder than the sins of the Israelites.
Christians Blessed But Not Immune
Paul’s intent is clear to the Corinthians and through the centuries to us. Don’t let your pride in being a child of God, or your knowledge of God’s Word, or who you are as member of a church take you to a place where you can and probably will fall into temptation and then sin.
If you are wise you don’t see how close you can get to the fire before you get burned. You don’t wait until you can see the flames leaping down the mountainside before you pack your car and get out of there. You don’t wait until the storm surge is at your ankles before getting out of Galveston. You flee
1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
God’s Punishment - 1 Corinthians 10:6-10
6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we
should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye
idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat
and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of
them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us
tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the
Israel As Examples
Paul points out the sins that Israel fell into during their 40 years in the wilderness.
Vs. 6 Lust “As they also lusted” Lust is a strong desire toward evil or worldly things.
Vs. 7 Idolatry the worshipping and serving of idols
Vs. 8 Fornication, sexual immorality of all kinds.
Vs. 9 Paul says Neither let us tempt Christ as some of them and specifically points to the time of the fiery serpents when Israel “spoke against God and Moses. This was the sin of refusing to believe the God himself. God had spoken to them and now they called Him a liar. They refused to believe God’s promises and thousands died.
Vs. 10 is the sin of Murmuring, which is grumbling and complaining. This sin accused God of purposefully inflicting pain and amusing himself with their difficulties.
Christians In Danger
You would think that we as modern day, computer age, internet savy people of the 21st century would have nothing in common with an iron age people traveling through a desert but the shock is in how much we still have in common. Not only in our blessing from the same God and creator but also in the areas of temptation that can hurt us and bring punishment from the same God who sent the fiery serpents among the tents of Israel.
Let me draw from these verses and give you “Five Temptations” that can wreck the blessings of Christian life.
Loving the World
Serving the World
Wow, we didn’t need to even explain the culture and historical changes from then to now, for us to understand that those sins and their associated temptations are just as dangerous to us today as they were to the Israelites then. Dangerous to the privileges and blessings we have from our God and yes very much liable to punishment, just as it was for them.
Can I tell you that I am so glad to be a child of God. I love the blessings that are in my life right now because He is in my life. I have joy, I have peace, I have assurance, I have hope, I have comfort, I have strength. I don’t want to lose those even temporarily but I can if I dare to get to close to the fire of temptation and stumble into the sin.
John in one of the last letters written to the Christians in the NT said, 1 John 2:14-17 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
That is who you are child of God, you have known God, you are strong, and you do the will of God because you are one who will abide forever.
This person, this child of God, doesn’t play games with God’s blessings in their life by playing games with temptation and sin.
Illustration: The fall of Jerry Falwell, Jr.
God’s Path vs. 11-13
11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Israel As An Admonition
The record of God’s word and the story of Israel’s sin was meant to be an admonition to the church of Corinth. Paul writes, “All these things happened unto them for examples, written for our admonition (a warning, a caution) upon whom the end of the world (the ages, the plan of God for this time) has come.
The Corinthians needed to listen and learn from the mistakes, the arrogance, the temptations and the sins of God’s Old Testament people and take heed to themselves and God’s New Testament People.
God’s New Testament, New Covenant People who had more supernatural blessings and privileges than the Children of Israel. Vs 12 Let him that thinks he stands, (in his Christian liberty, in his knowledge, in his privileges) let him take head because he can fall.
The best way, the way ordained by God to avoid that fall is to trust God’s path to escape the temptation. He will not allow you to be tempted more than you can bear, but will make a way a path to escape, you can bear it, handle the temptation, overcome the temptation by walking the way God wants you to walk when you flee.
Christians, Take Heed
Here are the lessons we as 21st century Christians need to learn from this passage.
First lesson: Learn from the God’s Word. These things are examples for us, learn from them.
Learn from David’s about the danger of lust and consequences of adultery. Lean from Saul about the danger of pride and the outcome of disobedience to God. Learn from Eli’s about what happens when you don’t raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Learn from Peter’s pride and his repentance with bitter tears. Lean these things because God has by his mighty hand preserved them for you in His unbreakable, unmistakable, undeniable Holy Word.
We are no different than them. We will make the same mistakes and fall into the same traps that they did. We may think we are different. We may think it won’t happen to us, but Paul has an the same answer for us as he did for the church in Corinths, “Take heed lest you fall.” Read God’s Word, study it and learn from it, if you don’t then you will fall, just as they did.
Second Lesson: God has made a way.
1 Corinthians 10:13 …God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Literally this is “the way out” it is not an avoidance of all temptation, nor some vague idea of strength, but this is the reality of how a child of God overcomes and escapes the temptation and sin that follows yielding to it. God promises us the way out, the great escape!
You know what I think the way is referring to, at least when it comes to us applying it in our life. I believe that the way of escape from sin, that Paul says God will always provide, is the same way and escape from all sin. I think that the way of 1 Corinthians 10:13 is the way of John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Jesus is always the way. Jesus is the only Way.
Jesus Christ Is Our great escape.
For this to be true in your life. You must know him as Lord and savior. You must walk with him daily. You must learn of Him always. You must trust Him completely. The closer you are to Him the greater will be the power to overcome temptation and trials and to grow stronger and overcome instead of growing weaker and giving in.
Paul said it this way to the Hebrew Christians who were being tempted to go back to Judaism and deny Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Lord.
Hebrews 12:1-3 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Look to Him, Consider Him. You know what word we get from this word consider taken from the Greek, analyze. Paul is saying you really need to know everything you can about Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the escape from the penalty of original sin, he is the way of escape from my acts of sin and he is also the way of escape from the temptation to sin. Its Jesus and it will always and only be Jesus.
Some of us may be struggling in temptations and trials right now. If you are losing that battle, then quit looking to yourself. Quit trying to find your own way and turn in faith to God’s only way, Jesus Christ.
Reach out your hand like Peter, sinking beneath the waves, and grab hold of Jesus. Run to meet Him, like Martha when her brother died. Sit at his feet like Mary and listen as He speaks. Walk and pray in the garden and with Him like the disciples in Gethsemane.
There is only one way of escape, only one path that God has made for all of us and that is Jesus, and that path starts at Calvary, runs throughout our life and ends at heaven’s gate.